Annual Review of Entomology (2016) 61, 417-432
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Ecology of Varroa destructor, the major ectoparasite of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera
Annual Review of Entomology 61, 417-432
Abstract: Varroa destructor is the most important ectoparasite of Apis mellifera. This review addresses the interactions between the varroa mite, its environment, and the honey bee host, mediated by an impressive number of cues and signals, including semiochemicals regulating crucial steps of the mite's life cycle. Although mechanical stimuli, temperature, and humidity play an important role, chemical communication is the most important channel. Kairomones are used at all stages of the mite's life cycle, and the exploitation of bees' brood pheromones is particularly significant given these compounds function as primer and releaser signals that regulate the social organization of the honey bee colony. V. destructor is a major problem for apiculture, and the search for novel control methods is an essential task for researchers. A detailed study of the ecological interactions of V. destructor is a prerequisite for creating strategies to sustainably manage the parasite.
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